According to the National Student Loan Survey today’s graduate students borrow, on average, $31,700. Imagine coming out of school with that kind of debt; well you no longer have to. There are scholarships by government and private foundations to help cover the cost of your education and they are granted based on need, merit, and many other additional reasons that you could qualify for.
Need based scholarships require student applicants to come from a low-income family in order to be eligible to receive their scholarship money. Merit based scholarships, on the other hand, will require students to meet certain academic requirements, both before and after they’ve obtained it. Most will require students to have a minimum GPA, and they may also require them to be full time students.
Students who excel in academics, athletics, debate, drama, music, community service, and many additional areas can be eligible for merit based scholarships by government and private foundations. These financial gifts are also awarded based on certain categories such as club membership, ethnicity, interests, and career plans.
Some scholarships, referred to as regional scholarships, can be granted based on where you live. In fact, a regional scholarship is probably your best chance for getting free financial aid. These are special scholarships just for locals, meaning it will be less competitive, as there are usually less applicants. Private foundations such as local banks, grocery stores, clubs, businesses, organizations, and churches are all potential sources for regional scholarships. You should also check State-funded scholarships. States have lots of money to disperse when it comes to providing education.
And when applying for your scholarship offered by the government or a private foundation there are a few important guidelines to follow. Firstly, you need to thoroughly read the requirements. Make sure you are eligible for the scholarship, as you don’t want to waste your time filling out a scholarship application that you never qualified for from the start.
Secondly, you need to fill out the application completely and accurately. Any errors right off the bat can get your scholarship application easily denied. Proofread it. Have someone else proofread it.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, try to keep up your grades. The higher your GPA, the more doors you will have opened. Good grades will undoubtedly make you eligible for more scholarships and greater scholarship funds.
And while many people think that in receiving a scholarship, your entire cost of college tuition is paid for you, this is a misnomer. The reality is that most scholarships, whether based on need or merit, are smaller financial awards and it requires several of them to add up. This is why it is important to apply for many scholarships at the same time to increase your chances of receiving additional funds.